Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Lockdown of New Zealand’s largest city ends this month

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – The lockdown on New Zealand’s largest city is likely to end later this month as some coronavirus restrictions are eased from Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Oakland has been on lockdown for nearly three months after the delta variant outbreak. The outbreak has grown to more than 4,500 cases, with about 150 new infections reported daily over the past week.

Ardern said Monday that raising the city’s vaccination rates for people aged 12 and older means he could continue to cut restrictions.

“Auckland got 90% of the first dose and 80% of the second dose over the weekend, and now there are a few weeks left to 90% of the double dose,” Ardern said. “And so, while we raise these rates even higher, we are gradually resuming work.”

Retail stores and malls in Auckland could reopen tomorrow, along with libraries, museums and zoos. The number of outdoor meetings will be increased from 10 to 25.

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Other facilities such as gyms and movie theaters will remain closed and many Auckland residents will continue to work from home.

Ardern previously said the city would be able to break out of isolation and move to a new traffic light system, where red, orange and green indicate the spread of the virus and associated health risks, once 90% of people eligible for vaccination are fully vaccinated.

“Oakland has worked so hard to ensure that vaccinations are high, they deserve to be able to move as soon as they reach those goals, no matter what happens in the rest of the country.”

But it was unclear when the border between Auckland and other parts of New Zealand would be reopened, as vaccinations are being delayed in some parts of the country.

Ardern said she would make an announcement at the border next week. She said Oakland residents will be able to travel on summer vacation during the Christmas break.

Nation World News Desk
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